Wear Orange for Unity Day! | Corona, CA

October is National Bullying Prevention Month, a time of year that we take pause to realize that bullying comes in many forms and is extremely hurtful, but we should all be willing to do something to prevent it from happening.

This year, Unity Day falls on October 20th and is one event that has been recognized in the U.S. since 2011 and is celebrated with individuals, schools, communities, and businesses wearing or sharing the color orange to unite for kindness, acceptance, and inclusion to prevent students being bullied. And what a great cause to get behind! After all the chaos that we’ve had to endure the past couple of years, it is important to look after each other in the most positive way possible.

I know what you may be thinking, why the color orange? Because October is an autumn month that includes Halloween, and Halloween’s mascot is the pumpkin, orange is the perfect warm color to represent that inviting feeling we are trying to convey to others. Not only that, but orange is a bright color that is associated with safety and visibility, and that is exactly the point we are trying to make – we need to radiate empathy and warmth towards others each and every day.

In the past, there have been many examples of groups and businesses participating. In 2013, the iconic Green Giant statue in Blue Earth, MN wore an orange toga and lit up the night sky with an orange glow. TLC of the Discovery Channel made their logo orange for the day. Others have tied orange ribbons to a fence or around a tree, offered an orange item for sale with proceeds to the National Bullying Prevention Center, or created a unity mural.

If you would like to learn more about Unity Day, contact Simple Acts of Care and Kindness at 866-459-7225 or visit www.simpleacts.org for additional information.

When It Comes to Bullying of LGBTQ Teens Local Politics Matters | Corona, CA

By Cara Murez, HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, July 22, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Youth who identify as LGBTQ+ suffer more bullying at their schools when they live in areas with politically conservative voting records, a new study finds.

School boards should do more to implement policies that go beyond minimum protections for LGBTQ+ youth, regardless of political affiliation, the researchers suggested.

“To my knowledge, nobody has really looked at this connection between a school district’s political attitudes and the experiences of LGBTQ+ students in schools,” said study co-author Paul Kwon, a professor of psychology at Washington State University. “This project highlights an inequity that is not talked about a lot and shows the need for more explicit and inclusive anti-bullying legislation and policies that help mitigate the risks to LGBTQ+ youth, regardless of district political attitudes.”

The study examined school district voting records in the 2016 presidential election, as well as bullying experiences in schools and mental health outcomes of LGBTQ+ students in Washington state using the 2018 Washington State Healthy Youth Survey. The survey included 50,000 students in grades eight to 12, asking about sexual and gender identity, bullying and whether or not teachers intervened during instances of bullying. About 20% of the students included in the survey identified as being LGBTQ+.

Researchers found that LGBTQ+ students are at a higher risk for psychological distress and suicidal thoughts as a result of bullying, particularly in school districts that voted for former President Donald Trump in the 2016 election. These students also reported their teachers were less likely to intervene in instances of bullying than students who responded from more liberal voting districts. The study only found an association between political leanings, bullying and teacher intervention; it wasn’t designed to prove a cause-and-effect link.

In areas where teachers intervened almost always, instances of bullying for LGBTQ+ students matched their non-LGBTQ+ peers, whereas without intervention the LGBTQ+ students reported more bullying.

“This was especially prevalent in more conservative school districts where LGBTQ+ youth report less teacher intervention despite experiencing more bullying,” Kwon said in a university news release. “Over 35% of youth in our study are students in a conservative-leaning school district, possibly placing them at greater risk for more bullying experiences and higher psychological distress.”

The researchers suggested school policy should include explicit parameters for training and education for teachers regarding LGBTQ+ bullying, as well as steps for teachers and administrators to intervene following LGBTQ+ bullying experiences. All school websites should explicitly describe anti-bullying policies as they relate to LGBTQ+ youth using specific examples, the authors said.

“We also recommend educators discuss anti-bullying policy with students and families at the start of each school year, while concurrently highlighting LGBTQ+ identities, particularly in conservative districts,” Kwon said. “After all, students have little choice in the school they attend, almost no choice in the school district they belong to and are unable to vote until they are 18. Thus, they are subjected to the environment of the school and broader culture of the school district chosen for them.”

The findings were published recently in the journal Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy.

The Trevor Lifeline provides LGBTQ+ individuals with crisis intervention and suicide prevention help.

SOURCE: Washington State University, news release, July 19, 2021

If you would like to learn more about anti-bullying efforts, contact Simple Acts of Care and Kindness at 866-459-7225 or visit www.simpleacts.org for additional information.

Anti-Bullying Event to Host Special Guests, Celebrities | Corona, CA

By Susan Canfora | Staff Reporter

Bodyguard Bubba Almony offers tips to students at the R.J. Martial Arts’ School of the Elites summer camp in Selbyville, teaching them the skills he said can help them avoid being bullied.

A message against bullying, and assurance that help is available, will be the focus of a regional event planned for Saturday, Aug. 28, at the Worcester County (Md.) Recreational Center in Snow Hill, Md.

Organized by local bodyguard Bubba Almony, it will feature speakers including Khalilah Ali, widow of boxing champion Muhammad Ali and mother of four of his children. She herself has a third-degree black belt in karate, earned a ninth-degree black belt, has appeared on the cover of Ebony magazine seven times and appeared in the movie “The China Syndrome.’

Former Baltimore Ravens football player Jacoby Jones will be there, as well as Al “Hondo” Handy, former head of recreation and parks in Ocean City, Md., who was named the Ocean City Citizen of the Year in 2015 and who will talk about sportsmanship.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford have been invited, and the mayors of both Pocomoke City, Md., and Snow Hill will attend, with Jennifer Jewell, mayor of Snow Hill, presenting a proclamation designating Aug. 28 as Bubba Almony Day.

“I am a big advocate of anti-bullying,” Almony said. “Bullying is prevalent all across the nation. I see it when I travel as a bodyguard. It’s in prisons, in the military. There is police brutality. It is happening everywhere.

Bullying is something we can’t tackle alone,” he added. “We need everybody’s help. Our goal at this event is to bring an anti-bullying message to the community. We will also talk about good, positive community policing. We will have dignitaries from the fire departments there, from the police departments.

“We want everybody to come and be heard, be seen and know people care about you and what you are going through. Our speakers will give encouragement to youth and talk about why this event is so important. They will talk about themselves. Dr. Ali will talk about her experiences growing up with bullying, why it’s important to have faith and never give up,” he said.

Vendors will provide information about how people can find help if they are bullied, as well as for mental-health concerns. The Recreation Center’s concession stand will be open, and the Mister Softee truck will be on the grounds.

Adriano ‘Bubba’ Almony, a part-time resident of Ocean View, is a professional body guard. He was named LV Magazine’s Humanitarian of the Year and this summer is teaching local kids how to avoid being bullied.

Following what Almony called “an outdoor fanfest” at noon, to give those attending the opportunity to meet the guests, doors will open at 3:30 p.m., and a celebrity basketball game will take place at 5 p.m.

Admission for the event costs $20, or $40 for a VIP ticket that allows ticketholders to sit near the basketball players and take photographs with them. See www.bubbaalmony.com for more information.

The winning basketball team will receive a trophy, and proceeds from the event will benefit organizations that work to improve mental health and to fight cancer and bullying. Almony said he hopes to raise as much as $50,000 and expects 2,000 people to attend from Delaware, Maryland and Virginia.

Other guests will include former NFL offensive tackle Vinston Painter; 12-year-old Samaya Clark-Gabriel, an athlete and actress, and the only child to perform with the Harlem Globetrotters; Jonte Hall, the shortest Harlem Globetrotter, at 5 feet, 2 inches tall. The guest list also includes 14-year-old Demarjay Smith, known as “the Young Jamaican Trainer,” who, at age 8, made a video and gave a motivational speech about being healthy and fit, causing it to go viral and getting him an invitation to be a guest on the “Ellen” TV show; and officer Tommy Norman, who has worked for the North Little Rock, Ark., police department since 1998 and received national attention for charitable actions toward youth.

Almony said he’s hoping to see the U.S. Army National Guard land a Black Hawk helicopter at the event.

Sherman, the Delmarva Shorebirds mascot, will be there, as well as Salisbury University cheerleaders and a Salisbury Zoo reptile display.

To protect against transmission of the coronavirus, masks will be recommended indoors and everyone’s temperature will be taken at the door. Hand sanitizer will be available, and the facility will the cleaned throughout the day.

“Bringing all these people together, we want to show those who have been bullied or have other issues that there are others that care about them, that love them, that want to treat the issues they are having as their own. We are ready to help them in their battles, to share our examples and experiences,” Almony said.

“If people come to this event, they could get skills that could save their lives and make their community more tightly knit.”

If you would like to learn more about anti-bullying efforts, contact Simple Acts of Care and Kindness at 866-459-7225 or visit www.simpleacts.org for additional information.

Sesame Street Tackles Anti-Asian Bullying with ‘Proud of Your Eyes’ Video | Corona, CA

By Bianca Brutus | June 25, 2021, 9:14 AM PDT

Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind “Sesame Street,” recently released a video focused on the experiences of Asian American children as part of an ongoing initiative to help families have honest conversations about race.

In “Proud of Your Eyes,” the characters Wes and Alan help their friend Analyn, who is Filipino American, after she was teased about the shape of her eyes. They sing a song together about how their eyes are beautiful and how eyes can tell the story of their family. The video is part of Sesame Workshop’s program “The ABCs of Racial Literacy,” which provides an educational curriculum on racial justice for young children.

The song includes lyrics such as, “Your eyes tell the story of your family. They show where you came from, and how you came to be. The color, the shape and the size should always make you proud of your eyes.”

According to a recent study conducted by Sesame Workshop, 86 percent of children say they believe people of different races aren’t always treated fairly, and parents reported that close to half of these children had personally experienced some form of discrimination.

New videos with Sesame Street Muppet friends include Breathe, Feel, Share, in which Wes, Abby, and Elijah discuss an incident that happened at school and a strategy to cope with hurtful situations.

Sesame Workshop also released online articles, guides and activities to help families continue the conversation about combating racism. The new resources were created with guidance from the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families along with several other racial equity groups.

“The reality is that many children grow up experiencing racism, including Asian American children who for years have reported high levels of racial harassment — a number exacerbated by heightened xenophobia and scapegoating during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Anita Gundanna and Vanessa Leung, co-executive directors of the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families, said in a statement. “With a long history of building trust with families, Sesame Workshop is the ideal organization to engage parents and caregivers in critical conversations with their little ones, help families cope with the harms of racism, and help build solidarity among communities.”

“Having open conversations with children about race and racism is critical, not only for building understanding and empathy but also for beginning the healing process for children who experience racism,” Gundanna and Leung, who served as advisers on the new Sesame Workshop resources, said.

Alan Muraoka, the Japanese American actor who has played Alan, the owner of Hooper’s Store, on “Sesame Street” since 1998, assisted in creating storylines centered around diversity and discrimination on the show. Last year, he co-directed a special on racism entitled “The Power of We.”

“To be able to see so many different types of people represented is super important,” Muraoka said in an interview with NBC’s “TODAY” show in 2019. “So, for me, being Japanese American, you know, to be sort of the Asian American representation on the show is so important, and I’ve had so many Asian American parents come up and say how much that meant to them. But I feel like I’m just another person in this beautiful fabric that we’ve woven and created.”

If you would like to learn more about anti-bullying efforts, contact Simple Acts of Care and Kindness at 866-459-7225 or visit www.simpleacts.org for additional information.

What Is Seth’s Law? | Corona, CA

Seth’s Law is named after a 13-year-old California student who tragically took his own life in 2010 after years of anti-gay bullying that his school failed to address. Now that we are in the midst of these types of discussions and legislations again, but on a national level, it’s a good idea to refresh our memories.

Seth’s Law requires public schools in California to update their anti-bullying policies and programs, and it focuses on protecting students who are bullied based on sexual orientation, gender identity/gender expression, race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, disability, and religion.

California law says that all public-school students should have equal rights and opportunities. Yet many lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning students report that they experience significant bullying in California schools. And teachers, administrators, and other staff often fail to address the bullying when they see it.

What does state anti-bullying law require school districts to do?

  • Adopt a strong anti-bullying policy that specifically spells out prohibited bases for bullying, including sexual orientation and gender identity/gender expression.
  • Adopt a specific process for receiving and investigating complaints of bullying, including a requirement that school personnel intervene if they witness bullying.
  • Publicize the anti-bullying policy and complaint process, including posting the policy in all schools and offices.
  • Post on the district website materials to support victims of bullying.
  • School personnel must intervene

Seth’s Law specifically contains the following requirement: “If school personnel witness an act of discrimination, harassment, intimidation, or bullying, he or she shall take immediate steps to intervene when safe to do so.”

(Education Code Section 234.1(b)(1))

If you would like to learn more about anti-bullying efforts, contact Simple Acts of Care and Kindness at 866-459-7225 or visit www.simpleacts.org for additional information.

Bullies Hurt Themselves too | Corona, CA

These days, it is easier to find bullies than heroes. But it shouldn’t be the way and we should focus 2020 on becoming a more tenderhearted society. Because bullying doesn’t just affect the victim, it affects everyone involved, including the bully. I know it may be tough to make sense of all of that, but if you think about it, it really isn’t tough to see. If you are a happy person, you have no reason no bully anyone. No, bullies are generally hurting themselves at the same time. 

Think about it – each time a bully hurt someone, they become more and more removed emotionally from the suffering and pain of their victims and begin to justify their actions to themselves by believing their victims deserve to be bullied. Eventually, they believe that the only way to get what they want from others is to be that bully. As a result, bullies fail to develop the social skills necessary for sharing, reciprocating, empathizing, and negotiating – the very things that form the basis for lasting friendships.

But that’s not all. There is a lasting affect that results if a child bully doesn’t change their ways. As they mature into adulthood, children who have bullied others often show higher rates of:

  • Aggression
  • Antisocial behavior
  • Carrying weapons to school
  • Dropping out of high school
  • Convictions for crime
  • Difficulty controlling their emotions
  • Traffic violations
  • Convictions for drunk driving
  • Depression
  • Suicides

Some adults who have been bullied as children may be more likely to allow their own children to bully others, thus raising a new generation of bullies. So, if you know a bully, take the time to reach out and understand why they feel the need to bully.

If you would like to learn more about bully prevention, contact Simple Acts of Care and Kindness at 866-459-7225 or visit www.simpleacts.org for additional information.

Bully Prevention at School | Corona, CA

It’s a scary thought, but bullied students are more likely to take a weapon to school, get involved in physical fights, and suffer from anxiety, depression and other health problems, both physical and mental. And research suggests that schools where students report a more severe bullying climate score worse on standardized assessments than schools with a better climate. This is why it is so important for everyone to prevent all types of bullying whenever possible. As a leader of a school, effectively addressing a bullying problem requires a culture change and it’s your duty to take the helm when needed…

Assess the issues. It is necessary to know what the problem is before we try to solve it. Take the time to survey students, staff and parents to find out how much and what type of bullying is going, as well as where and when, to target prevention efforts.

Enforcing a schoolwide code of conduct. Rules teach the right and wrong ways to behave. Having these rules reinforce school values and clearly define unacceptable behavior and consequences. Empower bystanders, teachers and especially students, for help by training them to identify and respond to inappropriate behavior.

Increase adult supervision. Most bullying happens when adults are not present, so make sure an adult is visible and vigilant in hallways, stairwells, cafeterias and locker rooms, as well as on buses and the way to and from school for students who walk.

Conduct bullying prevention activities. School assemblies, communications campaigns or creative arts contests are all fun, spirit-building ways of highlighting school values to bring the community together and reinforce the message that bullying is wrong.

If you would like to learn more about bully prevention, contact Simple Acts of Care and Kindness at 866-459-7225 or visit www.simpleacts.org for additional information.

Don’t Be Scared of Bullies | Corona, CA

October marks National Bullying Prevention Month, but today is Halloween, so let’s go into this spooky night with the idea of having a really sweet time. No one should have to tolerate people being mean to them, and if they do, they need to know it will be okay. Not only will things get better, but there are things that can be done to get the bullying to stop. After all, this is the time of year we pretend to be anything we want to be – there is no place for bullies. So, as we gather together with friends to trick-or-treating, here are some tips to think about, in case someone tries to ruin your Halloween fun:

  • Stick with friends and try to avoid being alone in targeted areas like locker rooms, restrooms, and places the bully tends to hang around.
  • Be assertive and show confidence when standing up for yourself. Body language can work wonders – standing up straight and making eye contact will show you aren’t going to stand for it.
  • Ignore the bully by walking away or by not responding to their insults at all. They want to get a rise out of you.
  • Don’t seek revenge – it will only make things worse.
  • Don’t keep it a secret. Ask your friends or an adult for help.

If you see someone bullied:

  • Speak up for those being bullied.
  • Don’t join in the act of bullying and refuse to even watch someone being bullied.
  • Give support by talking to the person being bullied in private; extend your friendship and listening ear.
  • You should report any bullying you see to teachers or another adult.

If you would like to learn more about bullying prevention, contact Simple Acts of Care and Kindness at 866-459-7225 or visit www.simpleacts.org for additional information.

See Something, Say Something | Corona, CA

bullying

No one wants to be bullied, and no one wants to someone being bullied. Unfortunately, there are many ways students can get bullied growing up, especially since the creation of the internet. Sometimes it feels like there are more bullies than not. But there is a way we can prevent bullies from taking control and hurting others. So, you have to ask yourself – when you see or hear bullying, what should you do? Here are just a few suggestions…

Intervene immediately. When you do nothing, you send the message that bullying is acceptable, and victims will begin to believe that adults don’t understand or care. Intervene, even if you’re not sure it’s bullying. Observing children’s actions, words, body language, and facial expressions will help you determine if bullying is occurring. Separate them, if necessary, so as to stop the bullying behaviors.

Get help. If the bully is using physical force, or there is more than one bully, you may need to find another adult to help keep children safe and protect yourself.

Avoid lecturing the bully in front of his or her peers. Your goal is to end the behavior, not humiliate or shame the bully. Rather than serving as a deterrent, lecturing and scolding often give the bully the attention they’re craving. Allow yourself time to consider the incident and obtain any clarifying information—then decide the best course of action.

Give praise and show appreciation to helpful bystanders. Children who try to help the victim or stop the bully are key to bullying prevention. Thanking these little good Samaritans will only increase their desire to continue.

If you would like to learn more about bullying prevention, contact Simple Acts of Care and Kindness at 866-459-7225 or visit www.simpleacts.org for additional information.

Is There a Difference Between a Bully and a Mean Person? | Corona, CA

It seems like these days, everyone feels the need to express everything they think and feel at any given moment. Not only in a good way, but more often than not, in a mean one. This has caused a wave of bullying between students that is tough to ignore. From TV to movies, it seems like everywhere you look someone is talking about bullying. But after some thinking, you have to ask yourself – is everyone that has something mean to say a bully? Is it possible to just be mean?

We all can probably think of someone who has been mean to us. We can probably even think of someone that we’ve been mean to. It doesn’t necessarily categorize anyone as a bully. There are rude people, and we need to learn how to deal with them accordingly. Bullying relies on unwanted, aggressive behavior that involves a real or perceived power imbalance which includes actions like making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.

No matter what the reason is, bullying can have long-term side effects and problems for the victim. Bullying is more than just being mean; it’s hurtful and cruel. The brutal words and actions can create an impact on the heart and general behavior. If you notice that your child has begun to change their overall demeanor to a sadder, more closed off version of themselves, talk to them. They may be hesitant to open up but knowing you’re there when they do will help tremendously.

If you would like to learn more about bullying, contact Simple Acts of Care and Kindness at 866-459-7225 or visit www.simpleacts.org for additional information.